After nearly two years of seating problems at the Wellington Dukes football stadium, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
A board of education vote for permanent bleachers is expected sometime in February, interim district superintendent Tom Tucker said.
Three companies are being considered for the job, but Tucker declined to say which ones. At the annual Ohio School Boards Association conference in November, bleacher companies provided the Wellington Schools with details of their proposals, he said.
“We’re all still working on it,” he said. “Soil samples are being collected and we’re looking at the bids. We’re looking at pricing and other things. That’s where it’s at. We’re just doing a lot of background work at this point.”
Though no decision has been made, Tucker said he believes the bleachers will be constructed and ready in time for the first home football game next season.
“We’re still in pretty good shape,” he said. “If it gets into March or April, then we could have some problems. The companies we’ve talked to know our deadline and have made it clear they understand. It’s not like we’re constructing a college stadium or something. For these companies, it’s a small project.”
After the Dukes’ wooden bleachers were condemned at the end of the 2015 football season when a fan’s foot broke through a board, the district planned on receiving used seats from North Olmsted Schools to attach to its existing support structure.
That plan fell through when lead paint was discovered on the structure. Once insurance costs to remove the paint were factored in, it no longer made financial sense to move ahead with the project.
Temporary seating for the 2016 season was purchased from Sightlines Inc. of Kentucky for $34,000 but was not ready for the first home game, which forced the district to pay Bleachers on Demand of Marblehead $3,000 for rented seating.
Sightlines Inc. attended a school board meeting in August and pitched its options for permanent aluminum bleachers that would seat 1,000 fans. Those would cost between $210,000 and $230,000 depending on whether angle frame of I-beam architecture is chosen. Angle frame is cheaper but is designed to go on top of hillsides and uneven terrain while I-beam is suited for level sites like Wellington’s.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise Wellington High School’s old bleacher support structure had to be demolished after lead paint was discovered on it last summer. A decision on new permanent seating from the board is expected in February, according to interim superintendent Tom Tucker.